Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekend Homesteading Project #1

So this weekend I engaged in my first documented homesteading project. 


Aren't you proud of me??

Homemade laundry soap. Yes, yes, I know--you are, at this moment, in awe of the sheer homestead-er-ness of this adventure. 

Fresh out of laundry detergent (a very, very, very bad thing in this household), I decided to begin the process of embarking on our first little baby steps away from utter Apple-Mango-Tango-Gain-Scented-Targ--ay-Dependency.

First I researched recipes.  I was disappointed to find that most were liquid, which I thought might not be as easy to store.  And then I happened upon a very simple powder recipe here.

Now, calm down (I know you are waiting with bated breath for me to divulge my laundry soap secrets; because it's not, like, it's in a gazillion places on the internet and stuff).

So, honestly, to confess, I did wind up at Target.  But only to purchase this...

And this...

Okay, y'all.

So here's the secret only your grandma and the rest of the blogosphere knows about part:

You take one bar of Ivory soap and grate it.  

Note--I've read many recommendations since, that using a food processor is actually speedier and safer--as (and we're not naming names or anything), but someone *may* have grated a bit of her thumb during this whole experience and although she *may* have gotten a kiss to make it better from her hubby, she also *may* have realized only too late that the use of a food processor would also have probably created more uniform-sized-dissolvable granules (which *may* definitely appeal to that person's control-freak sensibilities). 
Now, since we're on the subject of using an item primarily created for the everyday processing of food (as name indicates, duh), to pulsate something that probably shouldn't be ingested by human or beastie, herein lies a conundrum.  MarkaLee asked me, "So, is it still safe to put food in there afterward?." "Idunno," I said. "The other bloggers who have done so still appear to be alive and posting." To which he replied, in a Pirates-of-the-Carribean voice, "Deeeaaaad Bloggers telllll noooo talezzzzz."

Yes. I told you we are nerds. Please do not try to ignore this fact.

And hey, how many countless kids had their little pie-holes washed out with Ivory soap, and still grew to be strong, healthy, upstanding denizens of society?

But I digress.

One bar of Ivory soap (grated or pulsated, your choice).
One cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (and folks, be not confused by the little box you keep in your spice cabinet--this is WASHING SODA. Found in the LAUNDRY AISLE. Just sayin').
One cup of Borax.

Mix, pulsate or tie to a jack hammer (your choice).

And voila!  Homemade (almost) laundry soap.  
And it's thrifty, too, almost a full 20 cents less per load as you only use a Tablespoon for regular loads or 2 for really scrungy loads.


I couldn't stop there.

Oooohhhhh-ho-ho no.

Me being me, I need something cute to keep it in.

So I took two pickle jars I had been saving, and some chalkboard paint.
I squared off a label-sized patch using tape and aluminum foil, took the jars out on the porch with my trusty-dusty drop canvas, and spray painted the patches and the lids to the jars using the chalkboard paint.

MarkaLee comment upon seeing this conglomeration when he arrived home from a long afternoon of teaching lessons, "We're trying to get aliens to land on our porch?  Sweeeeeet."

I re-applied paint to ensure even coverage and about two hours and one stick of chalk later, I had these babies:

Oh pickle jars, how I love thee....

But be not envious of these marvels... you too can easily possess Pottery-Barn-esque laundry jars on a dollar-store budget.  All it takes is a little paint, a serious craving for pickles and fearlessness in the face of the cheese grater-thingy/food processor.

And did the soap work?  Yes.  Clothes were bright, stains were lessened, although I may try Zote soap in the future as a comparison.  Overall rating, 8.5 out of 10 pitchforks.

So let me know if you try this--I'd love to hear about your ideas and experiences...

Happy Homesteading, my friends!
Big Hugs,


  1. This is so interesting! I've seen bloggers make it but never had a review of how it works. Sorry about your grated finger!

    Love the pickle jar containers! So cute'

  2. Brilliant! Katy, you are brilliant!

  3. I use the recipe, too! :-) I've found that that much Borax really fades clothing, though. YMMV, but I usually reduce the borax to 1/2c, and add 1/2c baking soda, and the fading isn't nearly as noticeable.